Image by Cancer Research UK via Wikimedia Commons.
Recently however, the addition of urokinase to enzymatically break apart the empyema has been suggested to make the chest-tube drainage method more effective—but is it as effective as video-assisted thoracoscopy (VATS)?
Marhuenda et al. (doi:10.1542/peds.2013-3935) approached this question by performing a prospective randomized multicenter clinical trial in children younger than 15 years old with empyema that required intervention.
The results indicate that urokinase plus drainage may be just as effective as VATS, but if you want to see for yourself, scope out this study and discuss it with your local pediatric surgeons to see if they agree the two treatments are similar. Be sure to share what you learn with us by leaving a comment here on the blog, sharing an eLetter on our journal’s website or visiting us on Facebook or Twitter.